LIVE REVIEW: Knocked Loose, Terror, Static Dress, Last Wishes, Electric Ballroom, London, 07/02/2022
Photo Credit: Abbi Draper
Away from their stomping ground of Oldham, hardcore punk powerhouses Knocked Loose returned to UK soil to start off their run of dates in kick in your face fashion down at Camden Town’s very own Electric Ballroom, for a hardcore gathering of pure and utter carnage.
Coming overseas to give the live outing the band’s latest EP A Tear In The Fabric Of Life deserves, it is a body of work which witnessed Knocked Loose return after their full-length record A Different Shade Of Blue back in 2019. Their EP however, pushes the boundaries and comfort zones of this Kentucky based groups confines, giving grief, desolation and human emotional despair some hardcore integrity and honesty.
Bringing this brutally candid EP to beautiful life and giving vocalist and one of the best songwriters the hardcore scene has to offer in Bryan Garris’ lyrics to life outside of your Airpods, alongside the band’s big hitters from their back catalogue of blistering tunes. Knocked Loose cemented in Camden why they have taken the title as one of the front-running bands this generation has to offer.
Leeds post-hardcore risers Static Dress’ short set started off the night of hardcore that was about to roll out down in Camden Town. Switching swiftly between the shocking start of screams on opener disposable care to giving unreleased song c a live debut of epic proportions, alongside rounding off Static Dress’ sharp seven song setlist with smash hit clean, vocalist and creative visionary Ollie Appleyard and co causing absolute chaos with the early turnout of moshers with eardrum bursting screams and vocal distortions never ever in short supply. 9/10
Following hot on the heels of hardcore’s equivalent of a Gen Z’s new favourite outfit Static Dress, Gen Xers and LA’s Terror, a band who have been alive and kicking in the hardcore scene ever since ‘02, tore up the downstairs of the Electric Ballroom with a back catalogue of big hitters spanning this bands eight album long discography. This included opener Spit My Rage, song taken from early album One with the Underdogs to closer Keepers of the Faith, taken from the ‘10 record that shares the same name. Two generations of hardcore talent on display already tonight already and that’s even before Knocked Loose come wading in. 9/10
Amongst a sea of Sick Of It All, Slipknot, Strife, Palm Reader, Malevolence, Alpha Wolf, Loathe and Architects tee’s, the fresh Knocked Loose wearing crowd turned out strong just metres away from the merch table and so did the band. After being plunged into a brief spell of darkness, as the five-piece Kentucky cohort come on to carnage causing opener Where The Light Divides The Holler, guitarist Isaac Hale’s crunchy guitars get the Electric Ballroom lit in a sea of electric blue. The band’s boundless jumps and frontman Bryan Garris’ passionate air punches and whirring screams reverberating with utter chaos, erupting throughout the Ballroom’s sold out 1,500 cap room for this Oldham outfit’s much anticipated return this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
“London, England, let’s get a circle pit out here,” requests Knocked Loose’s very own Hale, before diving headfirst spurred on by the energy the just demanded circle pit if providing for Knocked Loose on A Different Shade Of Blue songs Belleville and Trapped In The Grasp Of A Memory. On both cuts, Garris’ ear-piercing screeches and guttural low screams and possessed air punching attitude are paired with the band’s brutal breakdowns and breakneck hardcore bare a fierce ferocity that sends the people standing on the floor into a frenzy of crowd surfing bodies, body slams in the centre of the mosh and crowd shouts that rise up to rival that of the bands.
Getting into the depths of the band’s latest EP A Tear In The Fabric Of Life shortly after a swift nod to the band’s first ever EP Pop Culture with the broken friendship banger that is All My Friends, Knocked Loose get going with the newer stuff, starting with the streaming sensation of a song that is God Knows. “We just put out an EP last year called A Tear In The Fabric Of Life and this one is called God Knows,” announces the ironically God Knows Knocked Loose merch wearing frontman, his screams charged up with an explosive mixture of pain and grief, bringing the nature of the lyrics that follow the conceptual narrative that embeds the entirety of the Fabric EP to brutally beautiful life. A purely cathartic experience felt all around the Ballroom from the casual standers propped up by the bar at the back to the moshers and squashed bodies at the front of the barrier and the band themselves, other EP tracks Forced to Stay and Contorted in the Faille not losing their outpouring of emotional intensity.
“This is an old song, this one is called Deadringer,” bellows Garris having now treated the crowd to two tracks from the band’s debut album Laugh Tracks with Oblivious Peak and the aforementioned Deadringer. Never afraid to challenge the sonic conventions of what musical box Knocked Loose get confined to, Deadringer live down in the Ballroom of Camden is a throw of arms in the air to hardcore, metalcore, or whatever label this song cannot have tagged to it, wildly diverse and blurring the genre lines until they are practically invisible.
Closer Counting Worms is another cut from the first full-length that climaxes the Oldham outfits opening evening on their stretch of UK dates to a colossal close. “I wrote a song about getting better.” screams Garris out into the abyss of the audience, who retaliate and scream back fervently “It’s a feeling I can’t remember”. As the pit grows wider and gets pushed back further for one last time, this act of kindness is a mark of respect for these oversees hardcore hero’s, who have managed to whip up the love from a modern hardcore generation, both for the past nine years, tonight and for many more nine plus years to come.
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood
Photo Credit: Abbi Draper